[OPE-L] the third nation

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Thu Feb 08 2007 - 15:58:49 EST

I wonder if others would be interested in elaborating, glossing or
correcting the interpretation I offer below of a passage from the
Grundrisse.  The passage is at 378 of v. 28, 362 of v. 42 and 449 of the
Penguin edition.  This comes toward the end of the first part, Reproduction
and Accumulation of Capital, of Section Two, Circulation Process of Capital.
Marx has just explained the three forms of capital as money -- measure of
value, means of circulation and money as independent value.  This last is
money as self-relating value, ie capital and interest, and constitutes the
transition from capital in general to particular capitals, the real
capitals.  The meaning here is that as real capital, capital must be two so
the analysis will have to be different.  First he interrupts to distinguish
capital in general as an abstraction and as a real existence.  In the course
of explaining the real existence of capital in general, he writes:

"Therefore, if e.g. it is a law of capital in general that, in order to
valorise itself, it must posit itself doubly, and must be valorised in  this
dual form, then e.g. the capital of a particular nation which represents
capital par excellence in opposition to another, must be loaned to a third
nation in order to valorise itself.  This double-positing, this relating
itself to itself as something alien, becomes damn real in this case."

The "in opposition to another" I take to be completely general, ie it could
as easily read, "in opposition to others".

The point about capital being necessarily two is very important.  How does
the "third" get introduced?  I take it this reflects an intersection of the
analysis of v. 1, section 3(C), The General Form of Value and e.g. ch. 21 of
v. 3, Interest Bearing Capital.  In other words, just as a commodity can
only express its value in the body of another commodity, money as capital
can only express its measure as self-relating value as against another
capital.  Thus if one nation is to serve as the representative of capital
par excellence, it must -- like the general form of value -- express its
self-relating nature as capital to other nations in the form of an actual
loan to a third.

I'm interested in how others understand this passage.

But also, what does this have to do with contemporary international economic
relations, e.g. the $2 billion dollars a day the rest of the world loans the


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Feb 28 2007 - 00:00:08 EST